I continue to be encouraged by how God is using the E100 Bible reading program in our church family. As we share during Foundations Life Group from what we have read in the Bible the preceding week it is wonderful to see how E100 is opening up avenues for talking about the Lord together. And then to realize that all the other Life Groups are also experiencing this kind of fellowship just heightens my encouragement!
Another encouraging aspect is this: knowing that as I preach from one of the E100 passages, it’s already familiar biblical territory because we have just read it. When I reference one element or another from the Bible passage, I can see recognition and recollection register on faces of listeners. Hopefully this will help God’s Word sink even more deeply into our hearts.
This month there will be an exception to this pattern of preaching from one of the E100 passages. That exception will be on Resurrection Sunday, March 27. Unfortunately, the E100 schedule does not line up with the timing of Holy Week this year. Instead of disrupting the schedule we will continue to follow the E100 reading plan through Holy Week. However, I will preach about the resurrection of Jesus on Easter Sunday.
The need to preach about the saving work of God through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ was brought home from the E100 passages about the period of the Judges. That is a tragic chapter in the life of God’s people. After the death of Joshua the Israelites turned from the Lord and worshiped the false gods of the peoples around them.
The Bible reveals what was at the root of their unfaithfulness: they forgot what God had done. They forgot how the Lord had delivered them out of slavery in Egypt by His great power and outstretched arm. They forgot that He had parted the Red Sea, allowing them to walk through it on dry ground escaping the advancing Egyptian army. They forgot that the Lord had guided them through the wilderness, miraculously providing food and water to sustain them. And so they broke faith with the Lord who had redeemed them and violated the covenant He had made with them at Mt. Sinai.
What a lesson for us! We dare not forget how God rescued us out of slavery to sin, out of Satan’s kingdom of darkness. We must continually remember how God mercifully accomplished our deliverance the sacrifice of His Son, the Lord Jesus. He was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification (Romans 4:25). If we lose sight of God’s saving work through Christ, if we do not regularly revisit it with faith and gratitude, we are in great danger. We would find ourselves in a similar situation as the Israelites: powerfully drawn to the gods around us. The false gods of our world are truly present and seductive but their influence would be all the greater if the saving work of Christ dimmed in our hearts and mind.
This brings us back to Easter, back to Holy Week. The Worship Committee, Music Team, and Passion Walk Team are working to provide meaningful times of worship for that special time. We will again have the Passion Walk on Good Friday. In the Passion Walk folks will have opportunity to walk through our facility along the route of selected rooms, each of which will be present different aspects of Christ’s sufferings. This highly participatory event is intended to help us experience more pointedly the final days of Jesus.
On Easter, our worship service will include special elements designed to help us see that the power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in the hearts and lives of those who have put their faith in Him. We will rejoice in the wonderful truth that Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!
However, we must understand that these Holy Week events are more than business as usual, more than merely the kinds of things that churches usually do at this time of year. Rather, they are vital to our spiritual health and wellbeing. They are intended to help us remember, to remember with faith and gratitude the powerful saving work God accomplished for sinners through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. What we are doing during Holy Week later this month is an effort to put into practice what we learned from the E100 readings about the Judges.
And so although the sermon on Easter, March 27, will not be from the E100 passages of that week, it will nevertheless be an application of what we have learned from E100. If we want to be faithful to the Lord we must remember His saving work through Christ. Let us ever remember.